By C. Barner-Barry
This publication explores the criminal bias within the usa opposed to Paganism and different non-Christian religions. regardless of being essentially the most religiously assorted international locations on the planet, the U.S. felony process constructed while the inhabitants used to be predominantly Christian. equipped into the legislations is the tacit assumption that each one religions and spiritual practices resemble Christianity. utilizing the Pagans as a case examine, Barner-Barry indicates how their stories exhibit that either the legislation affecting nondominant religions and the judiciary that translates this legislations are considerably biased in desire of the dominant faith, Christianity. This creates felony difficulties, in addition to difficulties of intolerance, for religions with considerably various practices. specified recognition is given to a sequence of ultimate courtroom judgements studying the liberty of faith Clause when it comes to neutrality and studying the institution Clause loosely and its effect on nondominant religions within the US.
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Additional info for Contemporary Paganism: Minority Religions in a Majoritarian America
Men and Women in Paganism Many of the most visible figures in the Pagan movement have been and are men. This raises the question of why men should be drawn to a nontraditional religious movement that is based on largely feminine imagery when Jewish and Christian religious traditions give primacy to male images and most contemporary Pagans were raised as Jews or Christians. The idea that the centrality of the Goddess means that Paganism is a women’s movement is explicitly refuted by Otter G’Zell: “As a man and a devout worshiper and priest of the Goddess for over 20 years, and as a founder and thealogian of a major Goddess-oriented religion, I must take umbrage at this attitude.
110 S. Ct. 1595, 1613). In concurring with the majority’s result, Justice O’Connor used the Sherbert test and found the interest of Oregon in criminalizing the use of peyote compelling enough to trump the burden it placed on the Native Americans’ religious practice. The dissenters essentially agreed with Justice O’Connor’s defense of the Sherbert test and her concerns about the impact of facially neutral laws. In addition, they concluded that “Oregon’s interest in enforcing its drug laws against religious use of peyote is not sufficiently compelling to outweigh respondent’s right to the free exercise of their religion” (110 S.
The fact that it is organizationally diffuse and has a large number of solitary practitioners makes it difficult for Pagans to raise public awareness of their true beliefs and practices. In a 1985 article, discussing 28 / contemporary paganism the legal position of minorities and their need for protection, Bruce A. Ackerman considers four distinct characteristics of minorities. Without going into his whole scheme, it is significant to note that the type of minority that he concludes is most vulnerable is the “diffuse and anonymous” minority, because “it is these groups that both political science and American history indicate are systematically disadvantaged in a pluralist democracy” (Ackerman, 1985, 724).